Labor Day & Freemasonry: Is There a Connection?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Robert H. Johnson 32°

The first Labor Day parade in NYC 1882
Labor Day, the very idea of the holiday invokes the excitement of barbeques, back to school for our children and the end of summer. Labor Day is now marked by the first Monday in September, but the first labor day was actually on a Tuesday, Tuesday September 5th 1882 to be exact. It was celebrated for the first time in New York City and was organized by the Central Labor Union. 

So who started Labor Day? Well, the answer can not be definitively answered. There are two men who are credited with its creation. Peter McGuire and Mathew Maguire were both labor leaders and worked for the rights of workers. Peter was a carpenter and Mathew a machinist.

President Woodrow Wilson
 (Left) with American Federation
 of Labor founder and long-time
 president, Samuel Gompers 
(Center), and DOL Secretary William B 
 Wilson at an undated Labor Day Rally.

Many people ask whether either of these two men were members of our great fraternity, the Freemasons. Of these two men, Peter McGuire was a member of a Brotherhood. It just wasn't the Freemasons. He belonged to the Brotherhood of Carpenters and was quoted as saying something which to me, sounds Masonic in nature...

[There needs to be a day to celebrate those] "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold"

However promising this sounds,  neither Peter nor Mathew have any record of being involved or affiliated with the Freemasons. 

To find out more and view some truely astonishing photographs related to Labor Day, please visit the United States Department of Labor's website all about Labor Day.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day!


Bro. Robert Johnson, PM is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the Education officer for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.

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